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AI Software Analysis Research Funded by CAREER Award

Dr. Wei Yang, a computer scientist in The University of Texas at Dallas’ Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science was granted a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award to support research to improve automated software analysis.

Yang, who is an assistant professor of computer science, will develop artificial intelligence techniques to identify and analyze issues in software code.

Dr. Wei Yang

“Wei’s research nicely combines software engineering and cyber security, allowing him to delve into various application domains, from deep learning to the security of open–source software,” said Dr. Ovidiu Daescu, head of the Department of Computer Science and professor of computer science.

NSF CAREER grants are the agency’s most prestigious award for early-career faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholar and are likely to become leaders in their fields. Each grant is approximately $500,000 over five years.

Yang, who joined UT Dallas in 2018, is an expert in software engineering and security.

A subset of artificial intelligence called deep learning increasingly is used to analyze the security of open-source software, a process that involves learning patterns in the computer code. However, existing technology lacks the ability to use logic, like humans can, to adapt to situations it has not been trained to handle.

Yang’s project aims to design a deep learning framework that incorporates this aspect of human intelligence to better detect malware and protect software from cyberattacks. Ultimately, he envisions that the framework will enable broader changes.

“Wei’s research nicely combines software engineering and cyber security, allowing him to delve into various application domains, from deep learning to the security of open–source software.”

Dr. Ovidiu Daescu

Head of the Department of Computer Science and Professor of Computer Science

“If one can somehow combine the best of the two worlds, many existing challenges will disappear,” Yang said. “In the long run, this project has the potential to fundamentally transform the learning-based techniques for code analysis in software engineering applications.”

In addition to software analysis, Yang also studies mobile security and IoT security. He will work with both graduate and undergraduate students who are studying program analysis techniques, specifically IoT, blockchain and AI applications.

Daescu said, “Wei is not only a great researcher, as confirmed by the prestigious NSF CAREER Award, but also an engaging teacher and a dedicated advisor to both graduate and undergraduate students, providing them the opportunity of hands-on experiences.”

Yang completed a PhD in computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an MS in computer science from North Carolina State University and a bachelor’s degree in software engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He was also a visiting researcher at the University of California, Berkeley.

Source | Jonsson School News


The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 4,000 bachelors-degree students, more than 1,010 master’s students, 140 Ph.D. students,  52 tenure-track faculty members, and 42 full-time senior lecturers, as of Fall 2021. With the University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.

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